Wednesday, September 30, 2009

cooking meat: not as scary as it seems

Pork Ribs

What does a person do with a whole entire rack of pork ribs?

The thing was, I didn't know. Until maybe a year ago, I almost never cooked meat. I ate it every once in a while (except for that month or so after freshman year of college where I tried out veganism, but let's skip right over that, shall we?), but I was intimidated by actually handling it, by consciously searching it out to eat. That started to change four and a half years ago when I found myself a girlfriend whose end-all, be-all favorite food ever was pork. It changed even more when I finally visited a nutritionist who cited tens of thoroughly sound reasons that it's important for people to search out and consume high quality meat.

And so here I am, trying to figure out how to make hamburgers in a skillet, guestimating just how long it takes to broil a salmon fillet, and even handling racks of pork ribs from the farmers' market as if I had some semblance of an idea what the heck I'm doing with this big chunk of, well, flesh. As I've been doing a lot lately, I turned to Nigel Slater, who offered up just the right recipe for me. Then I made a whole lot of changes, so the recipe really isn't much like Nigel's at all. Oh well. Just remember, when you're making these, to keep a careful eye on them so they don't burn. Other than that, they couldn't be easier. Just marinate and bake. Also, you'll want to find the best ribs you can for these, because this recipe shows off their flavor. I recommend paying a visit to your local farmer to support that delicious, nearby pork.

Pork Ribs with Honey and Ginger
Adapted from The Kitchen Diaries

7 heaped Tbs. thick honey
2 Tbs. tamari or soy sauce
1 Tbs. miso paste
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
1 'thumb' of ginger, minced
1/2 tsp. black peppercorns, crushed in mortar and pestle
3 1/2 lbs. meaty pork ribs

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together honey, tamari, miso, garlic, red pepper, ginger, and black peppercorns. Cut ribs into groups of two or three, place in bowl and coat completely with sauce. Cover bowl and place in the fridge to marinate for an hour or as long as overnight. When ready to cook, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Empty ribs and marinade onto a large baking dish. Bake for one hour and fifteen minutes, turning a few times and basting with sauce to make sure they don't burn. When done, they should be not quite falling off the bone. Serve atop rice, spooning remaining sauce over ribs as they are plated.

Serves 3 to 4.


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Adriana Willsie and Kylie Springman ©2009